Moanalua Gardens Foundation
Cultural and Environmental Education in Hawaii
1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819-1754
Phone: (808) 839-5334; Fax (808) 839-3658


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From 1986 to 1989, Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF), along with Bishop Museum and the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE), developed and disseminated the Ohia Project curriculum. This was a huge undertaking for a small nonprofit education organization promoting the preservation of the native environment of Hawaii. The project is named for the ohia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), an abundant and important tree in many native Hawaiian forests. Its nectar nourishes native birds, insects find refuge in its bark, and its branches shade understory plants from the tropical sun. The ohia was also used medicinally, for sacred carvings and canoe making, and played an important part in traditions of the Hawaiian gods. The goal of the Ohia Project is to assist Hawaii schools in implementing effective environmental education curricula to aid teachers and students in making informed choices for our island environment. The Ohia Project, comprised of three guide books covering grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-8, is the most popular environmental education curriculum in Hawaii. Since its inception, more than one-third of the K-6 teachers in the state have been trained in its use. However, the Ohia Project is now out of print and the DOE has developed new content standards in each subject area to identify important ideas, concepts, issues, and skills to be learned by all students. The Ohia Project needs to be aligned to these new standards. Also, current scientific data and cultural traditions need to be integrated.

MGF is currently working with the Hawaii Department of Health to update and revise lessons in the Ohia Project that have to do with water. Lessons are being field tested for the current 2003-2004 school year. For more information, check out our water lessons.

MGF is working with the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to update and revise lessons in the Ohia Project that have to do with invasive species. Lessons will be available for field-testing some time in February 2005 and will continue until May 2005. For more information, check out our invasive species lessons.

If you are a fourth grade teacher, you may be interested in our Ohia Project distance learning TV show for fourth graders, Exploring the Islands.

Although most of the curriculum is out-of-print, MGF has a few popular lessons available for download. These lessons focus on wetlands and forests.

selection of out-of-print lessons

Exploring the Islands

Ohia Project Water Lessons

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revised 12 May 2006
Hawaiian diacriticals
have been intentionally omitted.